Gas grills with piezoelectric or electronic ignition light at the push of a button. Both types of ignitors generate a hot spark that lights the grill, but they create the spark in different ways. Piezoelectric starters generate one spark per push. Electronic starters spark repeatedly when activated. Several small problems could prevent grills from lighting normally. Owner's manuals outline troubleshooting procedures. Follow these steps exactly to avoid gas explosions. Turn the main gas valve off before attempting ignitor repairs.
How Ignitors Work
When the grill operator opens the valve to a burner, gas enters a metal tube leading to the ignitor's spark gap. The spark sets the gas alight, and the flame travels back to the burner through the tube. Piezoelectric ignitors mechanically compress a piezoelectric crystal that generates a voltage when under pressure. Electronic ignitors activate an oscillator circuit, charging a capacitor until voltage climbs high enough to jump across the spark gap. Piezoelectric ignitors need no batteries, but the generating crystal could break. Electronic ignitors depend on batteries for power. Dead batteries or corroded contacts prevent normal operation.
The owner's manual gives procedures specific to the model of grill, but troubleshooting steps vary only slightly by model. Make sure the tank has fuel and the main valve is open. If the grill fails to light when operated properly, check the burners by lighting manually with a match. Most grills include a metal match holder and a lighting port. If the grill lights with a match, the problem lies in the ignitor. Fuel could fail to reach the ignitor because of debris in the lighting tubes. Spiders, wasps or other insects sometimes build nests that block the tubes.
Faulty Piezoelectric Ignitors
The sparking tip of the ignitor must align with the opening of the lighting tube or fuel may not reach the spark gap. With the ignitor in proper position, pressing the button should create a visible spark. Debris in the spark gap could short out the electrode. Clean the gap with a soft brush, and allow the ignitor to dry completely before testing again. Pushing the ignitor button once should cause a spark. If a spark appears, follow ordinary lighting procedures to start the grill. If a clean piezoelectric starter creates no spark, replace the ignitor module.
Faulty Electronic Ignitors
If clean and correctly aligned electronic ignitors fail to produce sparks, check the batteries first. If new batteries don't fix the problem, check the wiring that connects the battery box to the ignitor. Look for loose or corroded connections and for broken or chewed wires. Gnawing rodents sometimes sever ignitor wires.
If a voltmeter shows power at the input to the ignitor module, the battery box and connections work properly. When electronic ignitors with a good power supply and a clean spark gap still fail to spark, electronic components could be at fault. Replace the ignitor to correct the problem.
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
How Does Electronic Ignition Work on a Gas Grill?
A gas grill ignites gas at several burners throughout the grill in order to produce heat. There are several different ways that...
Gas Grill Ignitor Won't Click
Gas Grill Ignitor Won't Click. ... These electrical ignitors click as they work, to light the gas by creating sparks. If your...
How to Fix an Electronic Ignition on a Char-Broil Grill
By testing the grill's ignitor and following some basic ... Clean the tip of the electrode with alcohol and try to light...
Weber Grill Propane Problems
If each of the burners on your Weber gas grill has its own ignition, you have a snap jet system. ... How...
How to Troubleshoot a Kenmore Grill
Numerous things can be done to troubleshoot a Kenmore grill that has suddenly stopped ... Do not work on gas grills with...
How to Troubleshoot a Kenmore Electronic Ignition Stove
How to Troubleshoot a Kenmore Electronic Ignition Stove. ... the problem could be that the fuse leading to the range is burned...
How to Troubleshoot an Ignitor Grill on a Thermos
How to Troubleshoot an Ignitor Grill on a Thermos. ... The gas grills are equipped with a Piezo electric ignitor wired to...
How to Change the Batteries on a Weber Q
How to Change the Batteries on a Weber Q. ... Battery-Powered Gas Grill Igniter Instructions; Lighting Instructions for a Weber Gas Grill;...
How to Troubleshoot the Electric Ignitor in a GE Cooktop
The Igniter on the GE Gas Cooktop Is Not Working; Print this article; Things You'll Need. Replacement fuse; ... How to Troubleshoot...
How to Fix an Electric Starter on a Gas Grill
How to Fix an Electric Starter on a Gas Grill; ... My Gas Grill Ignitor Is Not Working. Gas grills with piezoelectric...
How to Check a Grill Ignitor
The ignitor on a gas grill triggers a spark to light the burner inside the appliance in preparation for cooking. Ignitors typically...
Troubleshooting a Gas Grill Valve Problem
Troubleshooting a Gas Grill Valve Problem. ... Clean the burner valves if they do not seem to be working properly and everything...